Etceterra Photo tours

Travel to Mars and Karynzharyk Reserve

Unique Author tour

Region: Kazakhstan
Dates: April 3-17, 2021

Conditions of participation  Photo tour program  General information

Have you ever been to Mars? Nope? So I’d like to invite you to do it! There are several places on our planet that resemble Mars. In one of these places we go in our photo expedition from April 3-17 – the Mangyshlak Peninsula and Karynzharyk Plateau, Kazakhstan.
The place is inaccessible, but thanks to this, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the unique nature and take a piece of these places – fossils about 100 million years old!
We will travel in jeeps with the program “all inclusive”: you will need to take with you only photographic equipment and sleeping bags. Starry sky and night fires I promise you!
I invite you to this photo adventure!
Interesting? So come with us!

Briefly about what you can see:
– salt marshes going beyond the horizon, mountains with complex weathering forms, fancy outcroppings and chinks (faults) of the Karynzharyk plateau!
– “Martian” landscapes of the Ustyurt plateau and the chinks of Bozhyr!
– the famous White Canyon of Zhilshi (hidden from human eyes and only those who know the entrance can get into it), which turns into pink at dawn and on sunset!
– The Valley of the Castles of Airakty-Shomanai, like the mountains of Morder from the movie “The Lord of the Rings”!
– you can find interesting fossils of the Jurassic period – from sea urchins and ammonites to fossilized wood! You can take fossils with you!
– the finest stone lace on the surface of the cliffs – the result of thousands of years of rainfall, wind and sand!
– blooming spring steppe and migratory sand dunes of the desert!
– real camels and jerboas!
– A huge number of wild land turtles, geckos, agamas and maybe we’ll be lucky to meet snakes!
– Spring is the time of nesting of birds, therefore we can meet eagles not only in the sky, but also find their nests!
– the famous reserve Karynzharyk and spend there whole 3 nights under the starry sky and with stunning sunsets and sunrises!



Photo Tour Location: Kazakhstan
Dates of the photo tour: 3-17.04.2021
Participation fee: 112 000 rubles.
Prepayment: 50 000 rubles deposit to the card VISA. The place is reserved if you get the confirmation of availability and paid the deposit. In case of cancellation of travel, 100% deposit is held for 15 days before it starts. If the tour is canceled by me due to extreme force majeure circumstances, then the money will be returned in full.
Number of days: 15 days / 14 nights
Number of participants: 6-9 people (3 people fit in one jeep).
Number of participants: At least 3 people.
Number of days: 2 days
Participation fee: 25 000 rubles
Type of photography: landscape, macro and night photography
Type of tour: photo tour, jeep trip
Difficulty level: very easy
The professional level of the photographer: basic, knowledge of his camera, possession of manual camera settings
Photoguide: Elena Pakhalyuk
Travel: Jeep
Accommodation: tents
Meals: all food we prepare on the fire and gas, kebabs on the fire, cafe
Visited attractions in the photo tour: Valley of balls, Karynzharyk reserve (lower and upper plateau), Bozzhira (lower and upper plateau), White Canyon Zhilshi, Castles of the Ayrakty-Shomanai valley.


Day 1. Meeting at the airport in Aktau. Moving to the Valley of Balls. Sunset, night shooting.
Day 2. Dawn shotting. Moving to the White Canyon. Sunset, dawn, day and night shooting in the canyon.
Day 3 Dawn shooting in the White Canyon Zhilshi. Moving to the Castles Airakty-Shomanay. Sunset and night shooting.
Day 4. Dawn shooting in Ayrakty. Evening and night shooting.
Day 5. Dawn shooting in Ayrakty. Transfer to the upper plateau of Bozzhira. Evening and night shooting.
Day 6. Dawm shooting. Exploration of shooting places for sunset and night shooting. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 7. Dawm shooting. Moving to the bottom of Bozzhira. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 8. Dawm shooting. Exploration of places to shoot the sunset and the stars. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 9 Dawm shooting and moving to the lower plateau of Bozzhira. Evening and night shooting.
Day 10. Dawm shooting. Daytime survey of locations. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 11 Dawm shooting. Transfer to Karynzharyk. Sunset shooting and night shooting on the upper plateau.
Day 12 Dawm shooting. Moving to the lower plateau. Sunset shooting and stars shooting.
Day 13 Dawm shooting. Moving to a new point on the Karynzharyk plateau. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 14 Dawm shooting. Moving to a new point on the Karynzharyk plateau. Sunset shooting and night shooting.
Day 15 Dawm shooting. Transfer to Aktau Airport until 17.00.

The tale of dunes, the sound of sand, the Milky Way in the desert … All this awaits you! 2 Days in the Desert!!!

At least 3 people.
Number of days – 2 days.
Cost – 25 000 rubles





In April, the weather is changeable, during the day it can be very warm up to + 27 ° C, at night it is much colder to 0 ° C, and sometimes there can be frosts and fog. Strong winds are very frequent at this time of the year and there are precipitations, especially at night, rain and fog are possible. In line with this, MANDATORY! to have the necessary warm, windstopper and waterproof clothing, a raincoat, and also not to forget about beach accessories and, if there will be a good weather, we can make a nice sunny relaxation (a beautiful tan is provided!). Sleeping bag should be at a temperature of COMFORT (and not extreme) 0C – + 5C.
IMPORTANT! Since we will have radial exits, the photographic backpacks should allow you to take extra – for jackets and fleece.
Tent, floor mats, etc. equipment is provided. You need to take ONLY sleeping bags.


It is advisable to have with you:

Personal first aid kit (personal medication)

Be sure to have with you:

!! Required !! Photo backpack.
Lightweight fleece gloves
Storm / membrane jacket in case of strong wind
Membrane Pants
Tourist running trousers
Warm sweater or fleece
Mud shoe covers
Spare pair of warm socks and trekking
Comfortable running shoes
Flip-flops (for resting feet in the camp and for the beach)
Hygiene products, hygienic lipstick, plaster
Sleeping bag
Thermal underwear
Rubber Seat Pad (Foam)
Beach accessories


What Photo equipment i suggest you to bring:

Wide and telezum lenses
Macro lens
Remote control
Polarizing filter
Gradient filter
ND filters
Be sure to protect the camera from fog, rain, waves at sea, if it requires it!
4-5 batteries
2-3 flash cards (at least 64 GB each)
Optical cleaners
Photo backpack
PowerBank for recharging a mobile phone


What is included in the price of the photo tour:

220 socket for charging equipment (generator)
Fire equipment and gas
Meat on the fire.
First aid kit
Transfer on the whole route
Meals on the route (not including meals in the cafe)
Master classes on landscape, night and macro shooting


What is not included in the price of the photo tour:

Tickets to Kazakhstan and back.
Dining at the cafe on the route
Alcohol, souvenirs and other personal expenses.


For any questions please contact:

Elena Pakhalyuk
Ambassador Olympus
– Member of the Union of Wildlife Photographers of Russia
– Member of the Russian Geographical Society (RGO)

 ATTENTION! Depending on the unpredictable weather conditions, as well as the general decision of the group, the program of the photo tour can be changed! 


Join now! It will be very interesting!


*Special thanks to the tour participants for the magnificent photos provided – Maria Tripoten and Sergey Khachatryan!